Times on the Ashes: Covering Sport's Greatest Rivalry from 1880 to the Present Day

Times on the Ashes: Covering Sport's Greatest Rivalry from 1880 to the Present Day

by Richard Whitehead

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780750963930
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 19 MB
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Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Whitehead is the deputy obituaries editor of the Times and has worked on the paper for 19 years in a number of departments. Previous roles include assistant sports editor and deputy books editor. He has worked on a large number of Times archive supplements and edited many one-off magazines and supplements. He is also the obituaries editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and a regular book reviewer for the Cricketer magazine

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On the Ashes

Covering Sport's Greatest Rivalry from 1877 to the Present Day


By Richard Whitehead, Marc Aspland, Graham Morris

The History Press

Copyright © 2015 The Times
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7509-6393-0



CHAPTER 1

ENGLAND'S HEROES


MIKE ATHERTON

THIRD TEST, SYDNEY, 1990–91

ALAN LEE, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

January 8. Atherton very nearly did not make it to his rehabilitating hundred. He made only a single in the first 50 minutes and then, in trying to scamper another to Marsh at short fine-leg looked very fortunate to escape a run-out verdict. His response, however, was a joy, the next ball from Rackemann being driven majestically through cover to complete the slowest century in Ashes history. Atherton will not mind a bit.

SECOND TEST, LORD'S, 1993


ALAN LEE, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

June 21. Success is a relative term as far as the present England cricket team is concerned, and it is not saying much to acclaim this as their best day of the Lord's Test match. They batted all day, with great resolve, and lost only four wickets. But defeat, by an undignified margin, is still the probable outcome today.

Nobody deserves this less than Michael Atherton. For more than eight hours over the weekend, he defied and exasperated the Australians. His first-innings 80 was the work of a man making up in determination what he lacked in form.

His second innings was different. On Saturday, he let the Australians bowl to him; yesterday, he drove them back and drove them mad.

Assertive in his shot-making and imperturbable under the verbal onslaught that Merv Hughes, in particular, reserves for him, Atherton richly merited his first century in 14 Tests. It eluded him in as cruel a fashion as this game can provide: run out, 99.

Atherton, called for a third run by Mike Gatting and then sent back, slipped twice as he tried to regain his ground. Hughes's accurate throw from deep mid-wicket found Atherton flat on his stomach, two yards out.

After a day of taut cricketing theatre, this, for England, may turn out to be the equivalent of the moment in which the Whitehall farce hero is caught red-handed with his trousers down.

THIRD TEST, TRENT BRIDGE, 2001


CHRISTOPHER MARTIN-JENKINS, CHIEF CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

August 4. After a morning's cricket dominated by the brilliance of Gilchrist and the promise of Alex Tudor, the game reverted for two hours and more to a theme it knows and loves: Atherton versus the rest. Relishing the challenge of hostile fast bowling as only he does and given determined support by Marcus Trescothick and Ramprakash, he kept the match in the balance and the spectators on the edge of their seats until, for the second time in a thrilling match, he was the victim of an erroneous decision.


TREVOR BAILEY

FIFTH TEST, THE OVAL, 1953

GEOFFREY GREEN, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

August 19. England at the start had their backs to the wall, still needing 40 to draw level with Australia on the first innings and seven wickets gone. Yet Bailey remained, in all for just short of four hours, to steer his side with an unflinching innings of 64 to a precious lead of 31.

Bailey's efforts in this whole series through have been monumental and they will be remembered whatever the final outcome. Wise men use study. Bailey has studied the Australians quite a bit this summer. He possesses patience and patience possesses him.

FIRST TEST, BRISBANE, 1954–55

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

December 1. This cricketer of inestimable value played in a way foreign to his nature for he lost no opportunity to attack and, when the day was 40 minutes old, he set up what might be considered a landmark in matches between England and Australia by pulling Johnson high and far for 6. It was a rare moment of humour in a tense day, and he looked so ashamed that the umpire had a word with him, as though assuring him that he was within the law and inquiring whether he required the attention of a doctor.

But that stroke apart, Bailey hit 11 4s and a 5, mostly with hooks and cuts, and not until a few balls before he was bowled, taking a swing at Johnston after batting for four hours 20 minutes, did he give a chance or look like getting out. It was a fine performance, worthy of a century, and one which enhanced his considerable reputation as a stubborn fighter in the hour of need.


KEN BARRINGTON

FOURTH TEST, OLD TRAFFORD, 1961

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

July 31. The highest testimony to Barrington's determination is that he can have a successful season though not properly in form. What his batting lacks is not virtuosity so much as confidence, for as he showed on Saturday he has the strokes when he chooses to use them. In his innings of 78, lasting three hours 40 minutes, he hit 10 fours, mainly from shots which made the rest of his performance seem over-cautious.


GEOFFREY BOYCOTT

THIRD TEST, EDGBASTON, 1968

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

July 11. By the time the England team signed in yesterday afternoon it had stopped raining, though they could do no more than throw a ball about. The exception, needless to say, was Boycott, who soon had the groundstaff bowling to him in the indoor school. To Boycott, batting is not a chore but a hobby. When, on tour, others go off to play golf or to bathe, Boycott prefers to have a net, if he can find a bowler or two. In the West Indies, where even the most humble onlooker can pitch a length, he was in his element.


JOHN WOODCOCK

June 21, 1993. On Friday evening, by which time England had only a draw to play for, I ran into Geoff Boycott and said how much I would give to see him batting for us next day. 'I'll tell you this, Uncle John,' he replied, 'it would be over my dead body that they'd get me out.'


IAN BOTHAM

THIRD TEST, TRENT BRIDGE, 1977

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

July 29. The honours went to Botham who must have been uncertain when he arrived at the ground soon after breakfast whether he would even play. After a loose first spell Brearley probably brought him on for his second, in the middle of the afternoon, with some misgivings.

What Brearley did know, though, was that with 75 wickets already to his name, Botham has been the most successful bowler of the current season. He is 21 years young and conspicuously strong. He is fit, too, having bowled more first-class overs in the past three months than anyone else. It was a happy time to choose to make the impact he did, having, as he does, no Packer strings attached to him.

FIFTH TEST, EDGBASTON, 1985

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

August 20. For obvious reasons Border set purely protective fields, though when Lamb was out, caught at mid-wicket five minutes after tea, and Botham came in even that became difficult. There were four balls left of McDermott's thirtieth over when Botham appeared, cheered to the echo. The first, straight and on a length, he heaved into the pavilion for six. He failed to score off the next, but hit the third to where the first had gone, this time with a stroke of classical purity. On Sunday he had driven the tenth green at The Belfry Golf Club, a carry of over 280 yards only rarely achieved. Greg Norman and Severiano Ballesteros, who have done it, would not, I imagine, fancy their chances of dispatching McDermott into the far yonder.

SIXTH TEST, THE OVAL, 1985

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

September 3. But it was not Taylor who shared the limelight with Ellison yesterday, but the irrepressible Botham, who took his thirty-first wicket of the series, his 343rd for England (only 12 behind Lillee), and, into the bargain, held one breathtaking catch as well as another easier one.

It is wonderful what Botham's winter off has done for him. Gower has never seen him bowl faster than in this match; yet a year ago it looked as though he might have shot his bolt. And after seeing him catch McDermott, diving to his left at second slip, I promise never to say again that he deprives himself of a potentially crucial split second by standing with his hands on his knees.

Quite simply, Botham is a law unto himself. Besides his 343 Test wickets, he has scored 4,409 runs for England and held 91 catches. Hardly a day passes without him doing something which very few others could. Besides having a wonderful eye for a ball and great strength, he is very athletic. Standing at slip he dwarfs those alongside him.


PAUL COLLINGWOOD

THIRD TEST, PERTH, 2010–11


RICHARD HOBSON

December 17. Describing the catch as instinctive does no justice to the hours Collingwood devotes to practice. Instinct, yes, but honed from hard graft. At 34, he is still England's best fielder. In the one-day team he continues to patrol the most important area at backward point. Scabby elbows like the ugly knees of a Gruffalo are war wounds resulting from years of diving around. Those elbows are given no opportunity to heal.


DENIS COMPTON

FIRST TEST, TRENT BRIDGE, 1938


DUDLEY CAREW

June 13. The contrast between Paynter and Compton was marked. Paynter looked utilitarian and post-War; he is a fine man for doing the honest work of getting runs. Compton, on the other hand, looked an artist, and the instincts of the great cricketers who played in the days when the war meant the Boer War moved in his strokes. He cut McCabe for 4 handsomely and showed an off-drive which was technically perfect. When he played his defensive strokes, too, he played them as though he had been reading text-books.

Compton soon went ahead of Paynter, but they were both running neck and neck in the nineties and then O'Reilly came on and Paynter in his first over first cut him square to the boundary and then hooked him for another 4, which gave him his hundred. The over altogether cost O'Reilly 14 runs. Compton was not long in following him – it was that delectable cut of his which brought him safely home – and then was out hitting at Fleetwood-Smith and being caught by C.L. Badcock deep at square-leg. It was a lovely and memorable innings, and it had only taken him two and a quarter hours.

SECOND TEST, LORD'S, 1938

R.B. VINCENT, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

June 29. Compton during this time definitely established himself as a Test match player of class. His batting is so compact, the blade so straight both in his forward and defensive play, and his short-armed hook, which he used freely to McCormick, is played with immense power. Some of his off-side strokes came as a delightful relief in a game which had been made up to a great extent of pushes to leg.

FIRST TEST, BRISBANE, 1946–47


NEVILLE CARDUS

December 4. Compton played with a lovely gallantry. He ran out of his ground first ball to Miller and drove defiantly straight, and then he pulled a long hop from Toshack for 4. Bradman then held consultations with Toshack, who now attacked from round the wicket, as Wilfred Rhodes and Blythe did every ball they bowled. Toshack improved a little in direction, but not in power of abstract, and Compton was free to pull him again for 4. Compton eventually fell to a ball that kept low. His little innings shone with a youthful confidence in the good rewards supposed to come from adventure.

FIFTH TEST, THE OVAL, 1956

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

August 24. Yet, although these 15 minutes turned the whole match upside down, they did not dim Compton's performance, which came straight out of a story book. He went in when England earlier in the day had also been struggling hard, and Australia were out for his blood. He might have been thinking of those who felt he should not have returned. Certainly no one could have been sure that he would justify his selection, and one wonders if he has ever experienced anything much more nerve racking.

But his eye still seemed wonderfully quick and dependable, and gradually he got the feel of a Test match again. Slowly, too, he realized that with care and discipline he could still do most of the things that once made him the scourge of bowlers. And he proceeded to play an innings which increased considerably in value after he was out. It was a triumph as much of character as skill, and when eventually he fell at 94 everyone must have shed a silent tear.


DENIS COMPTON AND LEN HUTTON

THIRD TEST, OLD TRAFFORD, 1953

GEOFFREY GREEN, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

July 13. Two unworthy strokes in 32 runs reduced England to a sombre tone. But in the half-hour before tea there came the first defiant ring as Hutton and Compton, perhaps the best players in the world for an awkward wicket, met the challenge. About this time there came one very fine over from Hill in which Hutton was twice struck on the pads, to bring a particularly explosive appeal, and then edged the ball to slip. Now, too, a passing train gave three encouraging toots on its whistle which curiously eased the tension and saw England in to tea at 50 for two.

The evening brought yet a third change in note. The wicket clearly was easing all the time, and now Hutton, frail but majestic, and Compton, determined and sure, showed their mastery, Compton adding to his worth by the wise judgment of his calling. Each searched the boundary on both sides of the wicket with some fine strokes. One remembers two lovely late cuts by Hutton off Miller and there was one remarkable lazy upward sweep, finely angled just over long leg's head, by Compton that cost Davidson a 6.

So England moved serenely on against a field now set defensively. The clock pointed to a quarter past six. The score was 126 for two, with Hutton 66, Compton 45, and the partnership worth 94. Suddenly Compton played gently forward to Archer and edged Langley a catch standing back.


COLIN COWDREY

SECOND TEST, PERTH, 1974–75

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

December 11. Whatever the Australians may say about his age there is none in England, not even Boycott, who would have a better chance of successfully making the change from a Surrey fireside to the sound and fury of an Australian Test match all within a week. If he plays it will be as though he dreamt that he was batting against Australia at Perth and woke up to find he was.

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

December 14. Cowdrey looked in a different class to anyone else, which, of course, he is.

THIRD TEST, MELBOURNE, 1974–75

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

December 27. Edrich initiated two short singles, which cannot be that short with Cowdrey as one of the partners. Between wickets these days Cowdrey is like a ship in full sail. During the luncheon interval there was a mile race between representatives of the local football clubs. I quite expected to see Cowdrey running in it, only because he is asked to do everything at the moment. On Christmas Day he found himself, among other things, addressing 150 people at a golf club luncheon.


BILL EDRICH

FOURTH TEST, HEADINGLEY, 1948

R.B. VINCENT, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

July 24. As so often happens after a long stand, another wicket fell almost at once, Edrich being caught at mid-wicket. One can pay Edrich no higher compliment than to say that he resolutely restrained his natural inclination to play that one false stroke somewhere in the direction of long-on which has so often cost him his wicket. For a cricketer who obviously enjoys his game so much it was a dour affair, but this was a Test match, and a five-day business at that, and he did his duty gallantly.


JOHN EDRICH

SIXTH TEST, ADELAIDE, 1970–71

JOHN WOODCOCK, CRICKET CORRESPONDENT

January 30. Boycott's partner, Edrich, made another opportune and ruthlessly practical hundred, his sixth against Australia out of his 10 for England. When he was seven he should have been caught in the gully by Mallett, but that was his one chance and only five minutes were left by the time Stackpole eventually caught him in the gully.

Hobbs (12), Hammond (9), Sutcliffe (8) and Leyland (7) are the only Englishmen to have made more hundreds against Australia than Edrich and of these Sutcliffe and Leyland also had their temperament to thank for their success as much as their natural ability.

All Edrich's innings are the same: in all weathers and on all wickets and in all hemispheres, he plays his game, trying nothing beyond a few trusted strokes. In his eight innings in the present series he has made 521 runs at an average of 86.8 which is a record that Hobbs, Hammond, Sutcliffe and Leyland would all have been proud of.


GODFREY EVANS

FOURTH TEST, ADELAIDE, 1954–55

STEWART HARRIS

February 2. Evans square drove Davidson for 4 and chopped him down to third man for 3. Bailey drove for 2 and Davidson's over had cost nine runs.

Evans reached 20 in 12 minutes, having once hit Davidson back over his head and run 5. He actually set out for a sixth. His innings was more than a cheerful wallop; there was skill and decision in everything he did, not least his running. He scurried, low-slung like a rabbit, up and down between the wickets and Bailey helped him put on 49 in 27 minutes.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from On the Ashes by Richard Whitehead, Marc Aspland, Graham Morris. Copyright © 2015 The Times. Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Mike Atherton,
Introduction by Richard Whitehead,
Other Writers,
Photographers,
Notes on Style,
England's Heroes,
Australia's Heroes,
Flashpoints,
Brickbats,
Captains,
Pitches,
Great Batting: England,
Great Batting: Australia,
Great Bowling: England,
Great Bowling: Australia,
Great Writing,
Weather,
Beyond the Boundary,
The Fast Men,
Fielding,
Selection,
England's Glory Days,
Australia's Glory Days,
Photographic Credits,
Plates,
About the Editor,
Copyright,

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